Thursday, March 26, 2015

the one about the things I said when I was tired

I stumble and fumble around the dark room, dodging pointy Barbie doll parts and a fleet of ride-on toys. Swaying to the imaginary waves on the imaginary ocean, I hiss profanity under my breath when my shin meets the corner of my solid wood bed.

I'm dizzy and disoriented.

But I'm not drunk.

No, that would be too enjoyable.

I'm. Just. Tired.

Where am I?

Who am I?

Looks at husband. Who is this?

I think this makes trip number 3 down the hallway and back. The first time for the oldest who had a bad dream. The second time for the newborn who decided she was starving. The third time for the 2 year old who had a diaper so rancid I could smell it halfway to her room. I sincerely considered just pretending like I didn't smell it and heading back to bed, but I am sure that is some form of punishable abuse.

So after 32 wipes, new pajamas, starting a load of laundry at 4:30 a.m., and considering (then reconsidering) squirting dish soap directly into my nostrils to just make sure I got it all, I was ready for sleep.

But the 2 year old wasn't ready for sleep. Honestly? It was probably physically impossible for her to sleep in that kind of stench lingering in her bedroom.

So I gave in to her request for Sofia the First at 5 a.m. and found myself drunk-shuffling down the hallway again and walk-of-shaming my way out to the couch with her on my hip.

Fearing judgment from all the people who advise against such parenting practices, I forgot where I was for a moment, and I said (to no one), "What are you looking at?"

Half-lucid (and half-crazy), I managed to find Sofia On Demand, and I squeaked out 22 minutes of peace before her marshmallowy hands were smacking my forehead. "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. MOM! Sofia's over! Mom. Mom. Mom."

"Why am I the only one who knows how to find Sofia? You're old enough to do this now!" I said to my 29-month-old baby child.

I can laugh now at the ridiculousness of this statement to a child who still poops in a diaper, but at the time, it made perfect sense.

As did the time when my children found me on the couch after another long, sleepless night, and my husband had already gone to work for the day, and they stared at me for a good long while before asking, "Can we have breakfast?"

And I was like, "Why do I have to feed you breakfast everyday?"

Of course I know how that sounds, but in my sleep-deprived fog, I just say the darndest things.

My husband isn't exempt from my delusions, either. It's just that some* of the time, he's too passed out to hear them.

*Disclaimer: He does get up and help quite a bit. I just despise how easily he can fall back asleep.

Like when I'm in the middle of a breastfeeding marathon at 2 a.m. and I sneer at the back of his peaceful, sleeping head, "How NICE it is that you don't have boobs!"

I mean, really, it is nice that he doesn't have boobs, because…weird, but still.

Or when he can easily tune out the sound of our screaming toddler during an attempt at "crying it out," all the while dreaming of golf courses and running half-marathons and fishing lures, and I'm awake trying to shove an entire pillow into my ear canal to block the sound, I say things like, "I don't understand WHY having a job that involves SAVING PEOPLE'S LIVES requires you to sleep more than me!"

Or "The DOCTORS on GREY'S ANATOMY don't need that much sleep!"

But after some time to wake up, a Starbucks (or two), some online shopping, and some personal reflection, I realize the silliness in my words and strive to make up for them the rest of the day by not rolling my eyes when someone wants a meal again.

So, to my girls and my husband, I'm sorry for the things I said when I was tired.

But for the things I said when I was hungry? That's for another day.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

the one about disney on ice (giveaway!)

Growing up, I wasn't necessarily part of a "Disney Family." Sure, we watched the movies and I knew the characters, but we didn't visit Disney World or attend Disney on Ice shows.

I'm still in therapy because of it.

So, when I became a mother of a Disney-obsessed little girl, not only did I find myself planning our first Disney trip when she was three years old, but I also was super excited to experience the Disney magic myself. There's just something about the nostalgia, the fantasy, the exuberance of the characters, and the touching stories that make me feel like a kid again.

Our first Disney trip was incredible, but the expense and energy required made it a "once every few years" kind of thing.

Until we can get back to the happiest place on Earth, I have enjoyed taking my family to Disney On Ice!

The costumes, the music, the energy, the excitement, the magic…it's all there…but in an accessible and local experience.

My first Disney on Ice experience was in Fort Wayne at the War Memorial Coliseum. I went by myself with my then-three year old daughter. Our seats were absolutely amazing…only a handful of rows up from the ice and so close to the action. I got chills when we entered…partially because we were so close to the ice and partially because I knew we were about to have a magical experience.

I had no idea what to expect at my first show. Our show was the "Worlds of Fantasy" performance, which included songs from Cars, Toy Story 3, Tinker Bell, and The Little Mermaid. Of course, Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy were there to introduce the show and provide more entertainment.




The entire production was awesome. There were scene changes, great costuming, all the familiar music, and plenty of opportunities for kids (and adults, whoops!) to get up and dance to the music. This was not a stuffy, stay in your seat the whole time, kind of atmosphere…which was perfect for a three year old.

I was honestly surprised at how long the entire show was. You really get your money's worth, and the show is broken up by an intermission…to allow you time for food and souvenir shopping (there's plenty of that, for sure!).

We loved our experience so much that we jumped at the chance to go again just a couple months ago to the "Treasure Trove" tour at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. My husband and I both went this time, taking all three of our daughters, ages 4, 2, and just a couple months old. We actually watched the show from a suite at the venue with several of our friends and their children. This made a lot of sense to us so that our kids could get up and walk around if needed, and so that we would have a little more room to spread out all of our bags and carseats.

But who were we kidding? The kids were glued to the performance the whole time, and there was very little roaming around the suite. Even the adults found it to be really fun and entertaining.

This show had tons of Disney favorites represented…from Toy Story to The Lion King to all kinds of princesses…Peter Pan, The Princess and the Frog, Tangled, Alice in Wonderland, Aladdin…the list goes on and on. I couldn't believe how many movies they featured! There truly was something for every child.





Adults and kids alike can appreciate the talent of the ice skaters and the extravagant production numbers. The sets and special effects are super entertaining. Watch out, because you might even see people flying through the air!

There are numerous Disney on Ice shows with different themes and movies represented. This creates a unique and different experience each time you go. There's always a good mix to entertain both boys and girls, too!

Disney on Ice is returning to Fort Wayne's War Memorial Coliseum next week with the Passport to Adventure show, and I am so excited because Lilo & Stitch will be a part of this performance! My girls lose their MINDS over Lilo & Stitch!

This show's summary reads:

Embark on the ultimate sightseeing holiday with all your favorite Disney characters inDisney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure.  Join Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy and Daisy on a journey to the magical worlds of Disney’s The Lion KingThe Little MermaidPeter Panand Lilo & Stitch.  You’ll explore the Pride Lands with Simba, Timon and Pumbaa; voyage under the sea with Ariel and all her aquatic friends; tour London with Peter Pan and Wendy, before flying to Never Land; and travel to Hawaii to visit Lilo and Stitch.  Upbeat music, loveable characters and exciting destinations make Disney On Ice presents Passport to Adventure a holiday you’ll never forget.




Showtimes start on Thursday, March 26, at 7 p.m., continuing through Sunday, March 29. Saturday and Sunday include several performances during the day as well as evening performances. Surely, there is something to fit everyone's schedule.

Click here to purchase tickets to a Disney On Ice show near you!

Whether you're between Disney trips and needing something to hold you over until the next magical visit…or you've yet to experience Disney World but would like your little ones to experience all the wonder and excitement, Disney on Ice is guaranteed to be an awesome family memory.

Stay up-to-date on all the latest Disney on Ice news by joining the Disney On Ice Insiders' Experience

Would you like to WIN tickets to the opening night (Thursday, March 26; 7:00 p.m.) of Disney on Ice Passport to Adventure in Fort Wayne, IN?

Simply enter your email, name, & you'll be asked to visit my Etsy shop's Facebook page, Opal and Aqua. I offer plenty of sparkly accessories for your own special princess!


Winner announced at 12:00 a.m. on March 22!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



I received something of value from Feld Entertainment as part of their Insider Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

the one about the kid

It seems like just a minute ago I was writing this about your fourth birthday.

And now, you have the nerve to turn five? FIVE.

Five years old means you are a legitimate KID. There's no baby left in you. You're 100% scrapes and bruises and marker smudges and peanut butter jelly face and strange outfit combinations out the wazoo.

KID.



As parents, we often say so passively, "It will be great when she can do this on her own," or "I can't wait until we don't have to do this anymore," or "It will be awesome when she's a little older…"

And the reality is that those are ALL lies.



In fact, I am terrified of the day when I am no longer "needed" by you or your sisters. When you literally can only view me as an accessory versus a staple item. When all of the life-sustaining actions, you can do on your own. What will I do then?

Turning FIVE is the first big leap to independence.

Turning five means Kindergarten. You'll spend the bulk of your waking hours away from me. You'll learn all kinds of new things…like how to read (well, you already kind of do that) and count money. And if you can read and count money, you can do a lot of things on your own.

Turning five means shoe tying. You'll say "Velcro is for babies," and we will be off to Target to buy you shoes with laces. And you'll tie them. And then, with your knowledge of reading and counting money, and with your brand new shoes with laces, you'll surely move out and get a job.

It just seems like that's what you'll do.

Turning five means being tall enough to ride the scary fast things at the fair and ordering for yourself at restaurants and officially never needing my help in the bathroom again.

How can my baby possibly be ready for all of these milestones?

I was born ready, Mama.

I can hear you say it.

And I believe that you were.



I must confess that this time last year, I was secretly and not-so-secretly praying that turning four would be the magical golden ticket to a less dramatic, easier-going child. Three was a difficult age with you (and a lot of others judging by what I see).

I secretly and not-so-secretly hoped that four would be the age where you would become less opinionated. Less roller-coastery (yes, that's a word). A little more sugar and a little less spice.

While the timeouts lessened and the tantrums waned, the spunk and the sass and the spice and the, well, sparkle? remained constant.

And thank God for that.



So this year, I'm not praying for a magical golden ticket.

I'm not praying for a change in you.

I'm praying for a change in me.

Let me embrace all that comes with a spirited, strong-willed, super awesome five year old.



Let me waste no more energy trying to "fix" you. You're not broken.



Let me come to understand all of your quirks and grooves.



Let me step out of your way as you find more independence.



and when, not if, you need me…

I'll be here.



I love you more than I ever thought possible.

Happy birthday, Kid.






Friday, March 6, 2015

the one about how i'm not sorry

There's a narrative floating around Facebook called An Apology to my Firstborn Child. It's well-written, tugs on the heart strings, and relatable to many, I'm sure. But I'm going to counter it with this.

Dear Firstborn,

Sorry, I'm not sorry.

When you were born (5 years ago next Wednesday!), I was a new mama. I knew nothing about actually being a mom (unless you count the fake baby from the child development class in high school that cried until you shoved a key in its back), but I thought I did because I read lots of books, articles, magazines, and brochures on the topic. I surveyed my experienced friends and family members. I wanted advice on all the things….strollers, swaddles, sizing, sleeping, and everything in between.

You see, I had this idea that I had to know everything about motherhood before you even came into the world.

And I'm not sorry for that. Like, at all.

I took my job seriously. I was caring for another living being that didn't have four legs and fur. I didn't exactly have the best track record among the furry four-legged living beings I had previously cared for (R.I.P. Peyton the Hamster), so I was a bit worried about how good I would be with you. How would I know if that was a hungry cry or a wet diaper cry? How would I know how much you should sleep or when you should sit up or say words? I wanted to know, so I researched it all.

I'm not sorry for wanting to learn.

It's true, you were a very regular, scheduled baby. It's true, you were on a sleep schedule from an early age and I rearranged my day so that you would nap in your crib. It's true that I became the person I always made fun of…the "I'm sorry, I can't meet you then because she will need to go to sleep" person.

But I'm actually not sorry. Your amazing sleep habits allowed me to watch hours of mindless television and sew useless things like throw pillows   you in your most angelic state for hours on end.

Yeah, I took you to the zoo for the first time when you were too young to remember it and I made sure you woke up in your own home on your first Christmas morning and I was chomping at the bit to sign you up for baby gymnastics and baby art class and baby underwater basket weaving. Sure, it all sounds silly to do those things with an infant, but I was desperate to do the things that mothers do. I couldn't wait to make memories. I couldn't wait to take pictures. I just couldn't wait.

I'm not sorry for being excited.

I dressed you in a different outfit for each holiday. I even put shoes on your feet before you could actually bear weight on them. There were frivolous accessories like hair bows the size of your face.

I'm not sorry for having fun.

I worked full-time when you were born. I left you at 9 weeks old to return to my job. I dropped you off to daycare at 7 a.m. and picked you up at 4:00 p.m. (or sometimes closer to 5:00). I did this for the first 3 years of your life. By the time your little sister was 8 months old, I had resigned. It wasn't because I loved her more and you less. It wasn't because it was easier to leave you and not her.

I'm not sorry for doing what I had to do at the time.

Yes, we insist that you set a good example. In fact, we make an example out of you sometimes. You don't get away with as much as your little sister. We tried many different forms of discipline with you until we found the one that worked the best(ish).

I'm not sorry about that stuff either.

We did the best we could. We made mistakes. We still do. We always will.

And you're turning out to be a pretty amazing person, so rather than apologize, I'm going to give myself a high five.

I will say "I'm sorry" to you many times in your life. For your first broken heart. For the untimely zit on prom night. For forgetting to put on pants when your friends come over.

But I'm certainly not sorry you were first.

Love,

Mama




Sunday, March 1, 2015

the one about vacations

I didn't write about anything worth anything the entire month of February.

Let me tell you a little about my mind.

Like my house, like my vehicle, like my desk, like my email…it gets cluttered sometimes all the time. When I have too much going on, too many thoughts in my head, I picture my brain as a malfunctioning robot…lots of flashing lights and smoke and repetitive phrases like "Cannot compute. Cannot process. Cannot compute. Cannot process." And some beeping. Lots of beeping.

When this happens, I shut down. Well, I shut down as much as my life allows me to actually shut down. I can't completely shut down or else my family will starve and my children will most likely wear the same outfit for days on end and my husband will actually succeed in wearing royal blue pants with an orange shirt to work. Yes, he has royal blue pants…and he wears them as much as he possibly can.

So, my version of shutting down is dealing strictly with what I absolutely have to for as long as I feel necessary. I feed my family. I clean what I must. I get to what I can. But the extra stuff is pushed aside until I can manage it all again.

It sounds like I need a vacation, right? Well the ironic thing is that one of my biggest stressors the entire month of February was our impending adults-only vacation to Mexico.

I know…feel sorry for me. 

But really.

When parents decide to take a no-kids vacation, the clouds part, angels sing, and grown adults prance around happily like merry unicorns. Oh, just me?

But then…it hits you. The absolute insane amount of preparation involved when leaving your children with other people.

I began making my "To Do" lists weeks prior to our trip.

The shopping list… for groceries, diapers & wipes, and a few small toys for the girls to look forward to while we were gone. Plus all the essentials for us…like flip flops and SPF 450.

The cleaning list…which basically said, "Clean everything," because my family would be staying in our home watching our children.

The "Oh shit, I'm still breastfeeding" list…included trying to find time to pump once or twice per day to start stockpiling milk, researching breast milk and pump guidelines for airlines, and guesstimating how many absorbent breast pads I would need to bring with me for the trip (answer? a gazillion).

Lining up childcare, preparing freezer meals ahead of time for dinners, compiling flight and contact information…all had to be done.

We even thought we would be cute and record videos of us reading 5 different bedtime stories for the girls to watch in case they missed us at night.

And then of course I was certain we were going to die on this trip and orphan our children, so we also bought more life insurance and I made a poor man's will which was basically a note left open on my computer desktop for anyone to see that read something like this…

If we die, these people, ________________, will take care of our kids. All of our possessions are up for grabs. Have fun with that.

See? All the work.

Once the preparations were complete and we were on our way, the irrational thoughts began (because being certain of our death wasn't irrational at all).

Like… What if they drown the pool we don't have?

And… Sometimes not at all we have trouble with bears trying to break in and steal food.

I had even more irrational thoughts that I am too embarrassed to list, if you can imagine.

The irony is that the more children you have, the more you really need to enjoy a child-free vacation every now and then. For your sanity. And your marriage. But then, the child-free vacation is so much work and worry that it's almost more exhausting to prepare for the vacation than it is to just keep trudging through the trenches of parenthood.

Face. Palm.

So I tortured myself with the planning and prep work. I tortured myself with the worry and anxiety. And as it turned out, on the second day of the vacation, we found out that Shiloh had RSV and was pretty sick.

Crap. I thought of a bear attack, but not RSV.

My all-inclusive resort buzz was officially killed with that news, and at that point I was just ready to get home. I was ready to be needed and pulled, pooped, and puked on. All the things I couldn't wait to get a break from were calling me back and I couldn't get there soon enough.

Kids. Sigh.

So does my mind feel clearer? Maybe a little. Mostly not really.

Was it fun while it lasted? Yes.

Have I even fully unpacked our suitcases? No.

But I'm thinking of leaving them that way so it's one less thing I have to do for the next vacation.

the one about project 365, days 36-42

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